A new CBS News/New York Times poll released on Monday confirms what an earlier poll showed: As gas prices have risen, President Obama's approval rating has slipped.
The CBS poll showed Obama's approval rating at 41 percent, which the network said was his lowest rating in the network's polls. An ABC News/Washington Post poll on Monday had the president's approval at 46 percent, down from 50 percent in early February.
But in a sign of just how unpredictable polling can be, Obama's approval rating in a Gallup Poll released on Monday rose to 49 percent in the three-day period from Friday through Sunday. Gallup said Obama's current rating is the highest measured since early February, and before that the highest since June 2011.
The CBS poll was conducted from March 7 to Sunday. In that poll, 47 percent disapproved of his performance, up from 41 percent last month.
Gasoline prices have gone up by an average of 12 cents a gallon over the past two weeks, something Republican presidential candidates are pummeling him about on the campaign trail. The CBS poll found that a majority of Americans, 54 percent, say they think gas prices are something a president can do a lot about.
Obama said last month that Republicans are "licking their chops" over rising gasoline prices, but that there is "no silver bullet" that will bring them back down. "It’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices," Obama said in a speech on energy at the University of Miami. "What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that may not be solved in one year or one term or even one decade."
The president slammed GOP candidates for gleefully using high fuel prices as a campaign attack tool. "Only in politics do people greet bad news so enthusiastically," Obama said.
The GOP's overall attacks on Obama may also be affecting his approval rating. His disapproval rating in the CBS poll reached 89 percent among Republicans (from 82 percent last month), and more independents now disapprove of his job performance than approve. Even among Democrats, his approval rating has dropped from 85 percent last month to 78 percent today.
The bad news for Obama continues on international issues. For he first time since the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, more Americans disapprove (41 percent) than approve (40 percent) of the job he's doing handling foreign policy.
The CBS poll was conducted by telephone March 7-11 among 1,009 adults nationwide. The margin of error for results based on the entire sample was plus or minus 3 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters was plus or minus 3 points, and 6 points for the sample of Republican primary voters.